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585 BC – First accurately predicted solar eclipse
The Eclipse of Thales becomes the first solar eclipse to be predicted in advance, by Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus.
The eclipse led to a truce between the Medes and the Lydians, who perceived it as an omen. Due to the coincidence with the war, this is the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day, creating a cardinal date from which other dates can be calculated.
1934 – First quintuplets to survive infancy born
The Dionne sisters are born in Canada, later becoming the first identical quintuplets for all to survive to adulthood.
At four months old, the sisters were removed from their parents by the Ontario government, who expressed concerns about the girls being exploited for fame. However the Dionne quintuplets were placed in a specially built hospital and became the country’s biggest tourist attraction. They were eventually returned to their parents in 1943, and two of the sisters are still alive today.
1959 – Monkeys become first mammals to survive space flight
Two monkeys safely return to Earth after being fired 300 miles into stratosphere, becoming the first animals to survive space.
Able, a rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, reached speeds of 10,000mph and changes in their heartbeats, muscles, body temperature, and breathing were monitored using implanted electrodes. Despite surviving the flight and landing, Able later died from the effects of the anaesthetic used to remove the electrodes.
Other animals had previously been sent to space, but with the technology for returning to Earth not yet developed, their trips were essentially suicide missions.
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